Europe's main stock markets dipped in cautious trading on Thursday ahead of the European Central Bank's latest monetary policy meeting and on the eve of US jobs data.
Frankfurt's DAX 30 inched down 0.07 percent to 9,616.43 points and the CAC 40 in Paris fell by the same percentage to reach 4,427.74 points in midday deals.
London's FTSE 100 index slipped 0.09 percent in value to stand at 6,653.26 compared with Wednesday's closing values.
"Traders are ... staying on the sidelines before the ECB decision," said Varengold Bank trader Anita Paluch.
The European Central Bank is not expected to cut its key interest rate on Thursday, even though inflation in the euro area slowed sharply last month, analysts said.
The ECB has held the eurozone's main borrowing cost at an all-time low of 0.25 percent since November.
ECB officials have repeatedly said they see no threat of deflation, even if president Mario Draghi has reiterated that the central bank stands ready to act if necessary.
"Although the ECB rate decision seems to be already priced in ... there is still that 45 minutes of Mr Draghi talking," said Paluch.
Asian stock markets meanwhile mostly rose on Thursday following another record close on Wall Street as US private jobs growth picked up, but Shanghai gave up early gains despite China unveiling a mini stimulus programme.
Global shares have enjoyed a broad rally this week following upbeat manufacturing data in key economies, while investors are keenly awaiting the release of a US non-farm payrolls report on Friday.
The CAC 40 has hit levels last seen before the start of the global financial crisis after a survey showed its manufacturing sector edged into growth after a long decline.
In foreign exchange trading on Thursday, the euro edged up to $1.3766 from $1.3765 late on Wednesday in New York.
The dollar stood at 103.94 yen after reaching a 2.5-month high of 104.07 yen in Asian trading hours, which compared with 103.85 on Wednesday.
The European single currency fell to 82.91 British pence from 82.80 pence, while the pound dropped to $1.6603 from $1.6622.
On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold retreated to $1,287.35 an ounce from $1,292 on Wednesday.
On the corporate front, shares in Kingfisher grew 2.23 percent to 440.8 pence after Europe's biggest home-improvements chain said that it was in exclusive talks to buy Mr Bricolage to build upon Kingfisher's already strong presence in France.
British group Kingfisher, which owns French home-improvement chains Castorama and Brico Depot as well as B&Q in Britain, said terms of a proposed deal valued Mr Bricolage at about 275 million euros ($378 million), including debt.